A Son's Obsession
 
saddiq dzukogi

When I think about moving to Lincoln, 

on the day I turn twenty-nine. I’m scared 

to my bones. A foreboding that whips my teeth 

and keeps my feet frozen to the warm floor 

of my farewell-saying bungalow. 

The walls speak back at voices, at the wrought 

of the last twelve months—peeling like snake’s skin. 

I wreath my melancholy and hang it

on the door I’ll leave behind. Kneeling near 

the window of my room, I decide

against watching the moon, as it voyaged 

in the sky, swells its face on window-glass. 

Instead, I was up, looking at houses 

on craigslist, furniture and things my new life

deemed necessary while trying to fit 

into a budget. Close to my heart— 

mingled with guilt— how hard 

pruning Rayh from the meadow of family, 

into an apartment that echoes of their absence. 

But he looks forward to the journey, 

animated about snowballs,

about a storybook that lays 

Lincoln in his mind—Snow White. Every morning, 

he pulls it from his mom’s dresser, 

glances keenly— as if there’s something  

that a misplaced step could spill within—Snow, 

Mammi, will I see snow? The white wolf, 

as distant as it is, has shaken me to my bones 

before its arrival. But my son appears 

excited, ready to make a plaything.

Saddiq Dzukogi is the author of Inside the Flower Room, selected by Kwame Dawes and Chris Abani for the APBF New Generation African Poets Chapbook Series. His recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Kenyon Review, Poetry Society of America, Gulf Coast, African American Review, Crab Orchard Review, Prairie Schooner, and Verse Daily. He is a PhD student in English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

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